Mollie Makes Magazine
Nice coverage for Mollie Makes of Shevie Moyles work down in Cornwall...
17 04 13
Wow, its all gone mad now! off to Cornwall for a hotel shoot tomorrow, back to Bath for a hotel shoot on tuesday, then to East Sussex for two days shoots for magazines, then back to Bristol to prepare for four days in Italy... see you on the other side...
20 03 13
Ongoing work with Chateau Impney in Worcestershire see here... and many other jobs too.. Homes and Gardens shoot last week in Devon, and some rather smart new architectural clients based in London this coming week... watch this space!
17 01 13
Well, the year's turned and I'm mooching around in the office trying to reorganise/springclean and generally do nothing! It was a good year (2012) and you can read a review here... At the moment its snowing here in Bristol, so any excuse to discuss 'not snowing' weather would be gratefully received!
15 7 12
Well its 'here we go again' time!... off to Cornwall again shooting for 25BH magazine, then straight back and up the M4 to shoot for a day with Esti Barnes of 'Top Floor Rugs' in London on wednesday. Then another shoot for Route One in the next couple of weeks, and a final shoot for the wonderful National Trust at Powis Castle Gardens ... Blimey...
Tag Archives: Mark Bolton Photography
It’s good to get out of one’s comfort zone now and again. So this week I spent a day working with Belle & Boo, which for those of you who aren’t the parents of little people, is a charming and successful children’s brand based around the characters Belle, a little girl and Boo, a rabbit. Think Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, The Velveteen Rabbit, Mabel Lucie Attwell, smock frocks all rolled into one. The shoot involved two little gals, afternoon tea all laid out on proper (tot sized) china, the icing of cup cakes and a toy bunny – as my teenage daughter might say, ‘sweeeeeeeeeet!’. This sort of Lifestyle and product photography requires a light touch and informality so we used natural light mixed with a little fill in flash, and the models were shot quickly and with as little fuss as possible… hope it shows! the company is based in Bristol and the excellent Nicky Owen of White Rabbit Media was stylist supreme…
Lillian Delevoryas is a wise and wonderful octogenarian artist and just happens to be our neighbour. In exchange for some photography, she offered us one of her paintings. So hard to choose when she has such a prolific output, much of which lines the walls of her flat. There are nudes in various poses, works of religious iconography influenced by her Greek Orthodox faith, vivid interiors and wildly colourful flower paintings one of which we finally ended up selecting. It’s called Hypnos and depicts passion flowers in a pot that was made by Lydia Corbett once a famous ponytailed muse of Picasso and now an artist who Lillian has exhibited with. Surrounded by various pieces of Poole pottery, some dead birds and my favourite Eric Leaper horse which admittedly has a vague My Little Pony feel (!), the painting seems to have settled in nicely. You can see more of Lillian’s work here.
We had an interesting and frantic shoot at the Naval Club in Central London last week… a days shoot in which we needed to get food, staff, rooms and atmosphere in one of Londons most ‘elegant and comfortable’ town houses. The staff were a great help, the weather wasn’t (!) and I think we distilled the ‘feel’ of the place quite well. These images are of the dining room and the food… a grand but relaxing room in which the chef served excellent modern food. Food Photography in these circumstances can be a tricky affair… there usually isn’t much time, so we need to work quickly, but the staff were a great help, and the chef was brilliant…
Great start to the year for interior photography with some lovely pieces being published… Homes and Gardens have just done two of my features, both houses shot in London towards the end of last year… The cover image is part of a feature we did about Lord David Herbert’s house… a lovely townhouse owned by the proprietor of David Seyfried Furniture, who make beautiful upholstered furniture and are based at Chelsea Design Centre…. and the bottom row of images are part of a second feature about a house in North London owned by Mette Hardie… lovely use of Crittall windows….
Both of the above houses were quite different from another recently published piece, all about the wonderful Silvana De Soisson’s house in Wiltshire, covered for Country Living magazine. We spent a great day there, while Silvana cooked lovely Pistachio biscuits and made us coffee… The house is cluttered and eccentric, and I’m sure you’ll agree, a picture-perfect home, cosy and inviting…. Silvana is the brains behind the ‘Foodie Bugle‘, an online food magazine thats fast becoming a ‘must read’ for those who know their pistachios….As you can see, all three houses involved different ways of working…. interior photography can involve lots of styling… taking ‘stuff’ out or adding carefully chosen bits to other shots. A good interior stylist is worth his (actually, more often than not ‘her’!) weight in gold…. In the case of both the Homes and Gardens shoots, Alice Ridley did the honours, whilst Country Living’s own Caroline Reeves styled Silvana’s house…
I have been recently testing a plugin (FocalPoint2) for Lightroom (the software I use for all my processing of images), and its got me thinking about the ways we use the ‘focal point’ in an image. Unless there is a ‘focal point’ in an image, the viewer tends to scan quickly across the image and move on…we need a point that the eyes can ‘rest’ on so that the eyes stay still for a minute and look at the picture. As photographers, we do this in various ways… the rule of thirds suggests that the focal point should be about a third of the way across, or down, the image, and if that point is accentuated (with colour/contrast and focus) it helps. We can also blur out the back/foreground so that the focal point is more obvious, and this is where this plugin, ‘FocalPoint2‘ is a great help. Obviously, its good to get the image right in the camera, but this plugin, neatly integrated into Lightroom, is wonderful for those images where, looking back, you wish you’d used a different f-stop, and hence had a different depth of field. Its very controllable, has an amazing array of ‘presets’ that replicate different lenses, and is infinitely adjustable. It would be easy to go a bit too far with it, and turn all your images into slightly gimmicky ‘flickr’ style shots, but if you’re careful, I think its a great addition to the workflow… here are some very basic samples with before/after examples…
After spending a lovely new year at Fingals, it’s time to get back to the grindstone, but not before I have a brief look back at the work I did last year. It reall was a mixed bag of assignments, from following NT gardens through the seasons to shooting a top hotel in Tuscany, Il Borro. My work is varied (that’s how I like it!) and I feel as ‘at home’ in a vibrant spring garden as I do in a Midlands ‘Spa Resort’ with four swimming pools and a 5 star chef!
Hotels wise it was a good year, and I shot a range of places, from small ‘bed and breakfast’ businesses (Bolotho Barns for example), to huge, multi-restaurant and spa resorts with hundreds of bedrooms (Hoar Cross Hall). Somewhere in the middle are the small hotel operations, with 10-15 bedrooms, owner operated, and with , more often than not, very good kitchens serving locally sourced food. These are enjoyable jobs as the owners know every room, the staff are their friends and they are able to put their own stamp on the places (Gliffaes Hotel, Boskerris Hotel, Tasty Ski Company). I have often said it but I love shooting these sorts of hotels as I get to do a bit of each of my favourite types of photography – gardens, interiors, food and lifestyle.
It was a busy year too, shooting for my commercial clients: Mandarin Stone are one of my favourites… we shoot lovely houses, finished with wonderful ‘products’, and the client really enjoys, and more importantly, understands the value of careful styling and propping. Another valued client is Top Floor Rugs, with whom I did a fantastic shoot at an amazing house in North London. Again, the client understands the importance of photography and the way that the products are shown (apart from the fact that she is also a world class rug designer!). I also had a good year doing editorial for interiors magazines and shooting major features for Country Living, Homes and Gardens and Saga.
Out into the rarified world of the internationally important garden, and I spent another year shooting, through the seasons, with the National Trust. I worked at three gardens, The Courts, Lacock Abbey and Powis Castle, and spent many happy hours watching the way the gardens changed through the year… frosty views at Powis, early spring shoots at the Courts and fullblown summer borders at Lacock. It’s hard to think of a job I prefer more…
All in all then, an excellent year… even if the weather wasn’t amazing!
It’s freezing here in the office and I’ve got my long-johns on, but Ive just been editing pics from a recent autumnal shoot at Bristol University Botanic Gardens, and the warmth of the colours is helping keep the frost out of this room! Its going to be a while before we see these colours again in the gardens of England, but one of the joys of this job is reminding yourself what you did earlier in the year!
I photographed a number of churches a couple of years ago, and was on the verge of actually embarking on a book about the interiors, before the publishers pulled out (something about a recession I think…)… I find the atmosphere and mood in these old Parish Churches wonderful and would love to finish the project… until then, here are a few of the many I did, with a poem by my favourite ‘english’ poet, Philip Larkin… Church Going…
Church Going by Philip Larkin
Once I am sure there's nothing going on I step inside, letting the door thud shut. Another church: matting, seats, and stone, And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off My cycle-clips in awkward reverence. Move forward, run my hand around the font. From where I stand, the roof looks almost new - Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't. Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce 'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant. The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, And always end much at a loss like this, Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, When churches will fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show, Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases, And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? Or, after dark, will dubious women come To make their children touch a particular stone; Pick simples for a cancer; or on some Advised night see walking a dead one? Power of some sort will go on In games, in riddles, seemingly at random; But superstition, like belief, must die, And what remains when disbelief has gone? Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky, A shape less recognisable each week, A purpose more obscure. I wonder who Will be the last, the very last, to seek This place for what it was; one of the crew That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? Or will he be my representative, Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt So long and equably what since is found Only in separation - marriage, and birth, And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built This special shell? For, though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, In whose blent air all our compulsions meet, Are recognized, and robed as destinies. And that much never can be obsolete, Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious, And gravitating with it to this ground, Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in, If only that so many dead lie round.
Anyone whose visions of Tuscan countryside revolve solely around the undeniably romantic idea of hilltop villas with cypress lined driveways snaking up through the vines, poppies or sunflowers has probably not made it up north to the Garfagnana. The region proper starts about half an hour north of Lucca, its main centre being Castelnuovo di Garfagana with the Apennines and the Apuan Alps rising dramatically to either side and it’s absolutely worth a trip if you have a few days spare.
I’ve just got back from one of my frequent visits – a photographer’s treat to go in autumn when the chestnut and oak trees that blanket the hillsides are are starting to turn, the whiff of woodsmoke is everywhere while each morning, low, single clouds hang over the valley. I wish I was an expert in fungi as there were mushrooms everywhere – our friend Giovanna told me that her children are already experts having learnt from their grandfather but I ended up buying my porcini from a roadside stall. One highlight this time was visiting the tiny village of Sillico where a lovely man insisted we go and see his museum – a crazy mix of scenes from yesteryear complete with spooky models and a dazzling display of – alarm clocks! I should have taken some pics but really, you had to be there….